1. Lara Croft
Whether hailed as a feminist icon or lambasted as an embodiment of male fantasies, Lara Croft is the most famous female video game character bar none. It is testament to Croft’s appeal that Angelina Jolie was cast to play her in the movie adaptation, Tomb Raider.
2. Max Payne
Max Payne is the hardboiled NYPD detective from the eponymous 2011 video game. His no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners attitude won him legions of fans following the release of the first two editions. An older, meaner (and bald) Payne returns Max Payne 3 in this year.
3. Gordon Freeman
Theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman, of the sci-fi Half-Life franchise, is a bespectacled everyman who is never seen in the actual game, only on the packaging. Yet this somehow this adds to his appeal – as though this anonymity makes it easier for the player to assume his identity.
4. Super Mario
Probably the most famous character in gaming history, potbellied Mario, with his bushy moustache and handyman dungarees, has appeared in over 200 video games since his creation way back in the digital Dark Ages (1981).
5. Nina Williams
A deadly assassin with a penchant for purple and the looks of a Scandinavian lingerie model, Nina Williams is Tekken’s most feted uberbabe. No wonder the Guinness World Records Gamers Edition 2008 anointed her "Hottest Female Fighting Character”.
More commonly associated with arcade video games than home consoles, Pac-Man was little more than mobile yellow pie-chart with an insatiable appetite for dots. But that didn’t stop it being the time-killer du jour for eighties geeks.
7. Master Chief
Video game developer Bungie concept artist Eddie Smith described Master Chief, blockbuster game HALO’s chief protagonist, as “pretty much the consummate professional. He does his job, walks off, doesn't even get the girl, he's that cool he doesn't need her.” Enough said.
The ash-white anti-hero of God of War, Kratos is the meanest addition to this list. Ruthless and remorseless, Kratos is a former Spartan army captain whose only desire his vengeance. About time we had a celluloid adaptation.
9. Prince of Persia
Created by Jordan Mechner in 1989, the acrobatic, cutlass-wielding blonde prince, was a popular 2D game character before he went 3D in the 2003 Sands of Time version. His place in the list is a no-brainer.
10. Nathan Drake
Among the younger breed of video game heroes, Nathan Drake is the rakishly good-looking hero of the Uncharted series. His laidback persona and dry wit made him a very believable and likeable hero.